Title: Helping Friend
Featured Pairings: Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger
Rating: G
Word Count: 1073
Inspiration Art: Studying, by ladysugarquill (htt p://l adys ugarquill. dev iantart. co m/a rt/R on-y-Herm ione-Es tudiando-12985 3611 - spaces are to avoid spam)
Beta: Thank you, exartemarte !!
Warnings: None. Fluffy, probably...
Summary: Ron needs to finish his essay but sleep is wining the battle
Author's Notes: Originally written for Round #1 at hp_art_tales . Hope the artist likes what I did with her lovely art :)


Helping Friend

The words started to get blurry over the parchment as his eyes battled to stay open. Seeing through his ginger eyelashes, the spells and wand techniques danced everywhere as he felt his head succumb to the gravity that sleep produced. The thin line between sleeping and waking was getting thinner second by second as he finally closed his eyes, lowering even further into the armchair as he placed his long feet over the coffee table in front of him.

Ron let the drowsy feeling invade the rest of his body. Quill and parchment long forgotten, images of the day appeared behind his closed eyes. Wild hair and laughing smile, Quidditch bludger bruising his right thigh, cherry pie for dessert, Harry insisting on following Malfoy, wands withdrawn by McGonagall's command, Malfoy's smug face as he disappeared around the corner, Hermione telling them off for it, Hermione admitting she was concerned about their well-being, Hermione reading in front of the fireplace, Hermione's face glowing with the flickering flames, Hermione calling him, Hermione's lips moving, Hermione saying his name, Hermione...

"Ron!"

The sudden scream startling him. He opened his eyes and looked for his wand. Stepping over the parchment and quill now on the floor, he got in position to fight. Ignoring the chilling fear that made his hair stand on end, he searched the empty room for Hermione, his eyes relaxing only when they met her kind face.

"Relax, Ron! You fell asleep," she explained placing a hand against his arm. His skin tingled under her touch, even through the layers of clothing.

Ron took a deep breath and put his wand in his back pocket. A small nod was his only answer as he kneeled on the floor to collect his scattered things.

"Let me help you," Hermione offered.

Before he even had time to reject her offer, she was at his side gathering the parchments spread over the carpet. Awkward hands bumping against each other every now and then awoke him completely, as he mentally kicked himself for blushing at such an innocent act. His ears felt like they were on fire as the heat from Hermione's body beside him made his heart skip a little.

"I'm sorry I startled you. It wasn't my intention," Hermione mumbled.

"'S okay," he said as he stood up with a few papers on his right hand.

Not giving her any time to attempt standing on her own, Ron offered her his left hand. She looked up and smiled softly as she took it. In one swift motion, he lifted Hermione's light weight until she was standing close to him. He swore he could see a light patch of sunburn freckles on her nose at such close proximity. Air caught in his lungs as her bright, brown eyes looked into his for a mere second. Was she blushing too?

"Y–You...Did you finish your essay?" she asked nervously.

Ron sighed. How was it possible to forget about an essay when he had been stressed over it for the last two hours? "No," he said, defeated. He cursed inwardly as he walked away from Hermione, heading to one of the tables in the far corner of the Common Room. "I have to do it tonight. McGonagall added five more inches to the essay for me and Harry because of bloody Malfoy and his stupid–"

"Okay, okay. No need to worry about that now. What's done is done," she said in a tone that didn't fool Ron. He knew she was thinking they deserved the punishment for attempting to duel the ferret. "How come Harry has already finished his?" she wondered approaching him.

He shrugged. "Ginny helped him," he muttered grumpily as he sat, throwing his unfinished essay over the table.

"Hmm," Hermione huffed, clearly disagreeing. "Harry shouldn't have his girlfriend finish his essay for him. It's a punishment and he should be the one making the effort, not Ginny." She scowled as she sat in front of him, placing the parchments she'd gathered herself over her lap.

Ron couldn't avoid thinking how things would have been if Hermione was his girlfriend. Would she say the same thing or would she just stay up late helping him instead? He wanted to hit his head against the wall. Could this day get any worse? Not only he would have to put up with Hermione's lecture that should have been intended for Harry and Ginny to begin with, but he still had to finish his essay or McGonagall would have his head on a plate. Four and a half inches left to write about spells he didn't understand in the first place, and it was already midnight. He groaned as he imagined the night he had ahead of him, resting his head over his crossed arms on the table.

He heard her sigh. "Okay, let me," she said, and he felt her retrieving the parchment from beneath him.

Looking up, he found her already scanning the six inches he had done so far. "What're you doin'?"

She looked at him with a small smile. "What does it look like?" she chuckled. "I'm helping you with the essay."

"But...But what about all that about Harry cheating and deserving his punishment?" Ron asked straightening in his chair, suppressing a yawn.

She laughed. That laugh that made him smile. He watched as a few locks danced over her forehead as she threw her head back and closed her eyes briefly. She looked beautiful. "The first time you actually listen to something I say and you question my willingness to help y–"

"I always listen to what you say," Ron blurted out without thinking. As silence took over, stretching the awkwardness and his embarrassment he couldn't stop mentally punching himself. Could you be more stupid, Ronald? No, I don't think so, he thought stonily.

Hermione remained speechless. For a minute, he thought she was fighting back a smile as her cheeks blushed, making her even more beautiful than he ever thought possible. She looked...endearing.

Before he decided to do another stupid thing, throwing himself over the table to snog her senseless, he cleared his throat and asked hoarsely, "So, would you really help me with the essay?"

"Oh, yes. Of course. You're...you're my friend, right? And that's what friends are for," she said nervously, flashing him a small smile before resuming her explanation of the best way to explain the consequence of doing the spell wrong.